Monday, July 29, 2019

John Adams on religion

Here is a useful compilation from FB about Adams’ views on religion.  It is a collection of what Adams had to say about Dupuis, who maintained that Jesus never existed.

It is more worth your while to live to read Dupuis than Grim. Of all the Romances, and true Histories I e
ver read, it is the most entertaining And instructive, though Priestley calls it “dull.”

Conclude not from all this, that I have renounced the Christian Religion, or that I agree with Dupuis in all his Sentiments. Far from it. I see in every Page, Something to recommend Christianity in its Purity, and Something to discredit its Corruptions.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6652

Dupuis has increased my Attachment to Christianity; but not to Catholic, Lutherian or Calvanistic Christianity.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-03-02-3207

I advise you to procure Du Puis; and answer him. I have read him in twelve large Volumes besides a Volume of Platis.

I could answer him in ten Pages, upon my Principles.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6661

For the last Year or two I have devoted myself to this kind of Study: and have read 15 Volumes of Grim, Seven Volumes of Tuckers Neddy Search and 12 Volumes of Dupuis besides a 13th of plates and Traceys Analysis, and 4. Volumes of Jesuitical History! Romances all! I have learned nothing of importance to me, for they have made no Change in my moral or religious Creed, which has for 50 or 60 Years been contained in four Short Words “Be just and good.” In this result they all agree with me.

I must acknowledge however, that I have found in Dupuis more Ideas that were new to me, than in all the others.

My Conclusions from all of them is Universal Tolleration.

Is there any Work extant so well calculated to discredit Corruptions and Impostures in Religion as Dupuis.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6670

Jesus is benevolense personified. An Example for all Men. DuPuis has made no Alteration in my opinions of Christian Religion in its primitive Purity and Simplicity, which I have entertained for more than Sixty Years. It is the Religion of Reason, Equity and Love. It is the Religion of the head and of the heart.

It would be idle for me to write Observations upon Dupuis. I must fill 13 Volumes. If I was 25 Years old and had the necessary Books and Leizure I would write an answer to Dupuis. But when, where or how should I get it printed. Dupuis can be answered to the Honour and Advantage of the Christian Religion, as I understand it. To this End I must Study Astrology as well as Astronomy Hebrew Greek Latin Arabic Persic and Sanscrit.

But to leave Dupuis to be answerd or reviewed in Edinburgh or London, I must enquire into the Attributes given by the Antient Nations to their Divinities, Gods with Stars and New Moons in their forheads or on their Shoulders; Gods with heads of Dogs, Horns of Oxen Bulls Cows Calves, Rams Sheep or Lambs. Gods with the Bodies of Horses; Gods with the Tails of Fishes; Gods with the Tails of Dragons and Serpents; Gods with the Feet of Goats. The Bull of Mithra; The Dog of Anubis; The Serpent of Esculapius!!!

Is Man the most irrational Beast of the Forrest? Never did Bullock or Sheep or Snake imagine himself a God. What then can all this wild Theory mean? Can it be any Thing but Allegory founded in Astrology? Your Manillius would inform you as well as Dupuis.

The Hebrew Unity of Jehovah, the Prohibition of all Similitudes, appear to me the greatest Wonders of Antiquity. How could that Nation preserve it’s Cread among the monstrous Theologies of all the other Nations of the Earth? Revelation, you will Say, and Special Providence and I will not contradict you; for I cannot Say with Dupuis that a Revelation is impossible or improbable.

Christianity, you will say was a fresh Revelation; I will not deny this. As I understand the Christian Religion, it was and is a Revelation. But how has it happened that Millions of Fables, Tales Legends have been blended with both Jewish and Christian Revelations that have made them the most bloody Religions that ever existed? How has it happened that all the fine Arts, Architecture Painting Sculpture Statuary, Musick Poetry and Oratory have been prostituted from the Creation of the World to the Sordid and detestable Purposes of Superstition? and Fraud? The 18th. Century had the honour to discover that Ocellus of Lucania, Timeus of Locris, Aristotle, Tacitus, Quintillion and Pliny were in the right. The Philosophy of Frederick, Catharine, Buffon, De La Lande Diderot, D’Alembert, Condorcet, D’Holbach and Dupuis; appears o me to be no more nor less than the Philosophy of those ancient Men of Science and Letters whose Speculations came principally from India Egypt Chaldea and Phenicia. A consolatory Discovery to be Sure! Let it once be revealed or demonstrated that there is no future State; and my Advice to every Man Woman and Ch[ild] would be, as our Existence would be in our own pi[. . .] to take opium. For I am certain there is nothing in this World worth living for but Hope, and every Hope will fail Us, if the last Hope, that of a future State is extinguished

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6681

I am Still a Spiritualist, in spight of Priestley Grim and Dupuis, and Tracy; and believe a God, a Soul and a future State. I Should with Berkley, call in question the Existence of matter as soon as with Priestly and Dupuis, that of Spirit ... An active cause must exist and have always existed. I See no reason, in all the Subtelties of the Phylosophers to hesitate in believing and Adoring the Being and Providence of the God of Abraham and Sir Isaac Newton. I have read Chateaubriand, as well as Dupuis and Eustace.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-03-02-3246

When you have once read Dupuis You will find yourself, irresistably impelled to read Court de Gebeline Primative World; and then Bryants Analysis of ancient Mythology; and then Sir William Jones’s Works, and then Herodotus and all the Greek Historians, and then over again Your Eustace, and Simondi and last not least Hugh Farmers four Volumes containing all his Works, viz, his Temptation &c, his Worship of human Spirits, his Miracles, and his Demons. To these you will wish to add Sir John Malcoms recent History of Persia, and the millions of Authorities quoted by all these Writers.

And when you Shall have done all this You will find yourself, precisely where you are now, an Adorer of the Christian Religion in its Purity; mourning over the Knavery And Folly of your Species; and above all deploring the Corruptions and heathenish Superstitions and Idolatries introduced into the Religion of Jesus by his professed disciples, and “most holy Priests.”

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-6770

But there are many bad Books, and I have read many.—Excepting a gratification of curiosity, I know not whether they have even done me good or harm, they have made little alteration in my natural sentiments, opinions or feelings; You would be suprised perhaps at the Catalogue ... The primitive world of Court de Gebellin, Bryants Mythology, and Dupuis Universal religion, and Volneys new researches into the History of Ancient Nations; Have not converted me to their system of Philosophy."

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-03-02-4240

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